The Pomodoro Method
Tonight, I (Shelby) am using what’s called The Pomodoro Method—but with my own twist (which I’ll get to in a minute).
The method was developed by a university student who had a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato (pomodoro means tomato in Italian). With his original time-management technique, you use a kitchen timer to discipline yourself to short, focused bursts of work, with short breaks in between.
Typically, the breakdown is four rounds of 25 minutes working with 5 minute breaks in between (which equals about 2 hours of focused work). Then after the four rounds you get a longer break (around 25 minutes) before repeating the process. My shorthand for this particular application of the technique is 25-5 x4.
I used this technique a lot when I was freelancing. The work I was doing would often get very granular and repetitive. Sometimes the monotony would make me throw in the towel—especially when I thought about needing to do eight hours of the same tasks. The Pomodoro Method kept me on track, while also legitimizing the need for breaks.
How This Hack Came in Clutch Today
I mentioned at the beginning that I’m using this hack right now—with a twist. Here’s what’s happening: I ended up unexpectedly having a free night. The kids are at the grands, the husband is working late, and the house is blissfully quiet.
It’s also a royal mess. Shortly before being ushered out the door, mine were just two of the nine kiddos running around the place. The “event” wasn’t planned—we just live in a tight-knit community with a lot of cousins. I typically do not let my children leave behind a mess for others to clean up (and neither do the other parents involved), but I happily prioritized more time for a leisurely visit over our normal habits this time.
I figured I could whip the place back into shape as soon as they were out the door.
But as I was tying on my apron and rolling up my sleeves, inspiration struck. I wanted to write more than I wanted to clean my house. (I know there are other creatives out there who resonate with this dilemma.)